Vol.2, No.6

Buying original art

Tips for choosing a work of original art to grace your home.

Art on a wall
Photo Credit: Jose Carlos Pires Pereira
The print is admittedly beautiful, with soft colors melting into one another to form the figure of a young woman with a large hat. It would look fantastic framed and hung on the wall of your living room. The problem is, it seems everywhere you look you see that same popular print of a famous work of art. For your home you prefer something interesting, eye-catching and, above all, different.

One of the greatest qualities of original art is that it is unique. You will not find it staring back at you from every poster store or motel lobby. Still, choosing original art can be daunting. Here are a few tips to get you started.

Begin by educating yourself about art. Read art and home design books to get an idea of the types and styles of art out there. Browse through home decorating magazines to see how professional designers have chosen works of art for different homes. Note which styles appeal to you and which do not, and ask yourself why. Prices of art can vary, so get a feel for how much things should cost. Talk with art dealers and artists, and don't be afraid to ask questions.

Next consider your home and the room for which you are considering the purchase of original art. Is it a traditional style, calling for more classic artworks, or contemporary, best suited to modern, avant-garde art? Does it need soft, calming tones or something bright and energetic? Are you looking for something to blend with the décor, or a focal point for the room?

Once you are ready to buy, there are plenty of places to find original art. Find out what art fairs or shows are going to be held in your area. Art fairs often feature a large number of artists with a variety of styles for a wide range of budgets. Art galleries are wonderful resources, though they can be a bit pricey and tend to stick to the gallery owner's preferred style. The internet can be a valuable source since there are a number of online galleries and auction sites that sell original works of art.

Keep an open mind as you browse the offerings. You may be looking for an oil painting, but fall in love with the color photograph of a marketplace in Thailand that would look perfect with your Asian influenced décor. Perhaps you intend to purchase a vase by a glass artist, but realize that the small bronze sculpture you happened upon in a tiny gallery fits your personality and the style of your room perfectly.

Finally, before buying a piece you've selected, consider the colors of the artwork and whether they will blend with the room you are decorating. Think about the scale of the work. The large oil painting that looked perfect in the cavernous gallery may overwhelm your small dining room. Does it reflect your personality? Is it something you will enjoy looking at every day?

Choosing an original work of art for your home can be educational and fun. Choose a piece that is attractive to you, but back your decision up with research and careful consideration to be certain that seeing the art in your home will bring you pleasure for years to come.